Saturday, August 6, 2011

The White Stallion by Elizabeth Shub

The White StallionThe White Stallion, written by Elizabeth Shub with pictures by Rachel Isadora, tells the story of young Gretchen's adventure when she fell asleep on a horse's back while her family was traveling through the Wild West in 1845.  Apparently this is a retelling of a story in Tales of the Mustang by James Frank Dobie.

Anna sat spell bound through the whole book.  I thought she might find it a bit long but she loved it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Once in a Blue Moon by Nicola Morgan

Once in a Blue Moon, written and illustrated by Nicola Morgan, is an amusing story of an old lady who celebrates her birthday with some good friends.  What makes the story amusing and interesting is that the story is told using so many familiar, and sometimes silly, sayings.  It starts describing Aunt Floydie as being "old as the hills" and "fit as a fiddle" .

Anna got a kick out of the pictures, especially the one of the mayor with his foot in his mouth, while I was quite amused by the text.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dreamstones by Maxine Trottier

 Dreamstones, written by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Stella East, is a mystical story set in the Arctic.  David, a young boy, goes on a trip to the Arctic with his dad and gets lost one night when he leaves the ship to chase a couple of foxes across the ice. He is helped by a mystical man and is found safe and sound next to an Inukshuk.    The illustrations are beautiful and add to the mystery and intrigue of the book.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book.  While I'm not normally a fan of mystical stories I kind of liked this one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

The Big Orange SplotIn The Big Orange Splot, written and illustrated by Daniel Pinkwater, Mr. Plumbean lives on a street were all the house are just alike, until the day a seagull drops a can or orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's house, leaving a big orange splot on his roof.  His neighbours complain about the spot and want Mr. Plumbean to get rid of it but instead the splot inspires Mr. Plumbean to express his individuality.  This causes all kinds of changes in the neighbourhood.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book.  The story and illustrations were fun.  It gave us a chance to talk about the importance of being free to be you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Feel Orange Today by Patricia Godwin

I Feel Orange Today (Annikins)I Feel Orange Today, written by Patricia Godwin and illustrated by Kitty Macaulay, is a book that talks about how colors can reflect our moods and ends by saying that "most days are really a rainbow".

Anna and I thought it was an okay book.  I liked the fact that it got us talking about how different colors make us feel sometimes and how sometimes people use colors to describe how they are feeling.  I especially liked the last sentence about most days being a rainbow.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Walking Stick by Maxine Trottier

The Walking StickThe Walking Stick, written by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Annouchka Gravel Galouchko, tells the story of a boy in Vietnam who finds a walking stick near a Buddhist temple.  The walking stick becomes his companion in life and travels to him to Canada to live before he passes it on to his granddaughter.  She then carries the stick back to Vietnam with her during a visit there.

Anna seemed to enjoy the book.  I had mixed feelings about it.  There were some parts that I liked and some I didn't.  The illustrations are interesting and we spent a bit of time checking them out.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jonathan James Says "I Can Be Brave" by Crystal Bowman

Jonathan James Says, "I Can Be Brave"Jonathan James Says "I Can Be Brave", written by Crystal Bowman and illustrated by Karen Maizel, is a one in a series of Jonathan James Learn to Read books for beginning readers.  It is a short chapter book with 4 chapters about different situations where Jonathan needed to be brave.  The chapter titles are The New Bedroom, First Grade, Lost, and Weekend at Grandma's.  Jonathan is reminded that God never sleeps and is always with us.

Anna and I both enjoyed the stories in the book and it was a great chance to remind Anna to trust in God.  I especially liked when Jonathan was going to sleep and he reminded himself that God was awake and was watching over him.  I also liked when someone reminded Jonathan that you can never be lost from God.  I think those are great reminders even for adults.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

All About Turtles by Jim Arnosky

All About TurtlesAll About Turtles, written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky, has great illustrations and informational text which teaches all kinds of interesting things about turtles, like how to identify the different kinds, what they eat, what their eggs are like, etc.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book.  We both learned lots.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Too Many Books! by Gilles Tibo

Too Many Books!In Too Many Books!, written by Gilles Tibo and illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin, Nicholas is tired of having a book passed to him every time he wants to learn how to do something or learn about something.  He knows books are good for that because he's learned lots from them, but he's sick of it.  Then his friend introduces him to books that are just for pleasure.

I think Anna enjoyed this book.  She didn't say too much about it.  I had mixed feelings about it.  It is kind of cute.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pavlova's Gift by Maxine Trottier

Pavlova's Gift written by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Victoria Berdichevsky, is a fantasy story about Anna Pavlova, a real life historical person.  In real life Anna was a professional ballerina and in this fantasy story she received a letter from the Czar requesting that she dance for his ill son.  On her way to fulfill the request she first meets a gypsy women who gives her a necklace and then comes upon a group of gypsies when her sleigh needs repairs.  It is with this group of gypsies that her night changes.

Anna loved the story, partly because the main character's name was the same as her's and partly because it was about a ballerina.  I thought it was an interesting fantasy story, not as weird as some fantasy stories can get. I think I will probably read it with Anna again in a year or so and use it as a jump off point to learn more about the actual historical person.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Teddy Bear by David McPhail

The Teddy BearThe Teddy Bear, written and illustrated by David McPhail tells the story of a little boy who loses his Teddy Bear in the park, and while he is upset for a few days he soon forgets about it.  Meanwhile the Teddy Bear is found, and loved, by a homeless man. There is a very special ending to this story that I don't want to spoil by telling but it is very touching.

I thought this story was great.  Anna was a little confused by the character of the homeless man because she's never seen one and has no concept of it, so I was glad it gave us the chance to discuss it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Seal is Lost by Priscilla Galloway

In Seal is Lost, written by Priscilla Galloway with pictures by Karen Patkau, Hugh loses his favorite stuffed toy while at the beach.  While his stuffed toy, Seal, is enjoying himself in Lost Toy Land, Hugh is looking for him but can't find him.  Instead Hugh finds a kitten that nobody claims and eventually the kitten takes Seal's place.

Anna and I thought this book was okay, not great, but okay.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Freddy's Hockey Hero by Susan Chalker Browne

Freddy's Hockey HeroFreddy's Hockey Hero, written by Susan Chalker Browne and illustrated by Hilda Rose, is another is the series of Freddy books.  In this book Freddy is excited to be going to a hockey game and is determined that he is going to get his stick signed by Billy Binkle, the most famous hockey player of all time. Nobody but Freddy is convince that Billy Binkle is even at the game, and Freddy has to go through a number of mazes before he finally does end up being in the spotlight with his hero and getting his stick signed.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't terribly enjoy this book.  To me the story was very contrived and didn't have a flow.  Anna seemed pretty neutral about the book.  This is not the first book that I've featured by this author or this illustrator but information about both are hard to find on the internet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Little Golden Book About God by Jane Werner Watson

My Little Golden Book About GodMy Little Golden Book About God, written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, is an old one from our bookshelf. The book starts quite simply with the short sentence "God is Great" but goes on to explain how God is a part of everything that every was and ever will be. Anna and I have read it together a few times.  We both really love the illustrations.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeIn A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by his wife Erin E. Stead, Amos's days are always the same.  He is a zoo keeper and enjoys spending time with the animals at the zoo.  When he gets sick and can't make it to work the animals miss him and decide to go visit him.

Anna and I both loved it!  The illustrations are great with just a touch of subtle colour.

On Philip Stead's blog, he has some posts that celebrate the fact that this book was named one of 10 best illustrated books in 2010 by New York Times.  Check out the first of the celebration posts for A Sick Day with Amos McGee and then click on Newer Post at the bottom of that post to read the other celebration posts.  In each post he highlights animals that are featured in the book and shows stamps from his stamp collection featuring the animals and also shows illustrations from the book.

On Erin Stead's blog, she also has a number of posts about the book.  These posts are sprinkled throughout the blog and I wish there was an easy way to access the posts about the book specifically but there isn't.  Two of my favorite ones about the book are her post about the day they received the first shipment of A Sick Day with Amos McGee and the post where she describes how she made one of the pictures for A Sick Day with Amos McGee.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Python Play and other recipes for fun Poems by Robert Heidbreder

Python Play: and Other Recipes for FunPython Play: and Other Recipes for Fun, with poems written by Robert Heidbreder and pictures by Karen Patkau, is a great, fun book of poems of all sorts all about play.  There are poems about classic play games like Hide-and-Seek and Tug-of-War, but there are also poems about totally new games.  The poems are sure to inspire action of all sorts.

Anna and I had great fun reading the poems and acting some of them out.  We also enjoyed the bright illustrations.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Boston Box by Carmelita McGrath

It was over a year ago that Anna and I read The Boston Box by Carmelita McGrath.  Set in the 1930's in outport Newfoundland, it tells the story of a young girl named Mary.  Mary loved to dream big dreams, and while she's busy working hard helping the other women with the fish she dreams of what she will do with the money she earns.  However, when it comes time to get paid they discover that the price of fish has gone down and her money will have to be used to help the family with necessities.  Live is made a little easier by an annual box of surprises sent from an aunt in Boston.  The book is illustrated by Rochelle Baker and some of them are quite nice.  I especially liked the borders around the illustrations.

Anna was very young when we read this book together and it really was over her head.  I do plan on returning to this book again as part of our social studies.  It is a great book to use as a resource for learning about life in outport Newfoundland in the 1930s.

The book was actually one of the finalist is the Hackmatack awards in 2005 and they prepared a page with suggested learning activities to do with The Boston Box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Splat the Cat Sings Flat written by Chris Strathearn

Splat the Cat: Splat the Cat Sings Flat (I Can Read Book 1)Splat the Cat Sings Flat is an I Can Read book based on books by Rob Scotton but this book is actually written by Chris Strathearn and illustrated by Robert Eberz.  In this book Splat the cat is afraid to sing at a school presentation but he finally overcomes his fear.

Anna enjoyed the book and I thought it was okay.  It did give us a chance to talk about overcoming your fears.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Setting Wonder Free by Maryke Barnes

In Setting Wonder Free, written by Maryke Barnes and illustrated by Jirina Marton, a seven year old girl feels bad for her hobby horse, Wonder.  Wonder has been banished to the basement because her and her brother have outgrown it. Her mother suggested giving it to the Salvation Army but she couldn't bear the thought of another child riding it so she suggested putting it out in the field near their house.  Wonder looked lonely out there and the girl imagined Wonder would be happier with children.  One day, after a lady with a toddler had asked about Wonder, Wonder disappeared and the girl imagined how happy Wonder was again.

Anna loved this story.  It gave us a chance to talk about how you can grow out of toys and how when you do it is nice to give the toys to other children to enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Stupendous Adventure of Gregory Green by Jason Noble

The Stupendous Adventure of Gregory GreenThe Stupendous Adventure of Gregory Green, written by Jason Noble and illustrated by his brother Matthew Noble, is the story of a boy that tries to save the forest from Sawtooth, Sludge, and Smog, three monsters that threaten to destroy the forest.  Included with the book is a CD of Gordon Pinsent narrating the story.

Anna enjoyed listening to the story on CD but to be perfectly honest I did not particularly enjoy the story.  Could be just because it's not my style of story and I may have to revisit it to give it another chance but my first opinion was not a great one.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Webster The Scaredy Spider by Max Lucado

Webster the Scaredy Spider
Webster The Scaredy Spider by Max Lucado is available in many formats - board book, hard cover, kindle edition, and DVD.  To be perfectly truthful, Anna and I haven't actually read the book, but we have watched the DVD.  It tells the story of a spider named Webster who is scared of everything, and everyone in the garden is afraid of Webster.  Hermie, however, helps everyone realize that Webster is not so scary after all and he also helps Webster be brave.  Hermie reminds them all that God is always with them and they need not be afraid.

Anna loves the DVD and we have watched it over and over and over.  I didn't realize that it was available as a book but I will definitely be watching for it.